- relevance--tied to real life experiences, builds on child's background knowledge, helps children understand the world around them
- possibility for hands on activities--firsthand experiences or simulations
- available resources and materials
- potential for in depth projects to emerge
My first experience in planning a theme was in my junior or senior year in an undergraduate EC curriculum course. The class was taught my by favorite teacher and later mentor, Dr. Nancy Smith. A major project for the course was to choose a theme to plan activities around that would be taught in small groups and later be added to a thematic learning center. We also had to coordinate a dramatic play center to be implemented with our theme. I love planning and was excited to get started. I had already decided I would choose a insect theme. There was a slight problem, I didn't choose a backup plan for a theme and the day we announced our theme to the class someone else (who announced before me) chose an insect theme...what would I do? Well...when Dr. Smith called my name to record my chosen theme, I blurted out that my theme was "feelings". Not sure what possessed me to pick that particular theme...but it wasn't a good choice for many reasons...but I made it through that course and never used that theme on its own again (later I used some activities in an "All about me" theme).
In my almost 19 years working with 2-5 year old kids I have implemented quite a few themes that did work well. Some day I may devote future posts to outlining activities with certain themes...but for now I will just list my favorite themes.
- All about me
- Five senses
- Valentine's day
- Weather--wind, clouds, rain, rainbows
- Nursery rhymes
- Fairy tales
- Pond life--fish, frogs, reptiles
- Grocery store
- 4th of July
- Community helpers--post office, doctors/nurses, dentists, firefighters, policemen
Here are some pictures from my days of preschool past that highlight some of my favorite themes.
|Visiting sheep during a farm theme.|
|Caging animals with our zoo theme.|
|Harvesting vegetables in dirt table with our garden theme|